Everyone who knows anything about South Coast Conference girls’ basketball or Bourne High School athletics knows that there’s a storm brewing. That tempest showed signs of its potency last year, when the Lady Canalmen won the SCC Championship. This year what may be a superstorm is about to sweep through the conference.
“We know that we’re picked to do well,” coach Mike Tierney said. “But, we still have to go out there and perform.”
The starting five for the Lady Canalmen have been playing basketball together since the 4th grade. They make what they do on the court look easy, when in fact it has come from years of working together.
“It’s like driving an expensive sports car,” coach Tierney said. “We just have to start it and it’s going to run.”
Three of the starting five seniors will serve as team captains this season. Point guard Shelby Corsano, center Chelsea Doucette and forward Bri Girouard, who have started every game for the Lady Canalmen since their freshman year, will lead the way. Forward Amanda Pomeroy, who was injured her freshman season, but has started every game since her sophomore season and guard Stacey Tonello, who rejoined the group last year and started every game, will round out the starting five.
“They are all very bright kids,” Tierney said. “They have tremendous basketball IQs. In all my years of coaching I have never had a group of players this smart and this talented.”
But while Pomeroy, Doucette, Girouard, Tonello and Corsano ate up the SCC last year, their success this season will continue only as long as the bench continues to provide solid support.
Three returning sophomores will stand ready to take the floor when the call comes. Point guard Renee Moore, Hannah Leach, who can play either the guard or forward position, and Molly Neil, who is physically strong under the basket and a solid rebounder, will cycle on and off the floor.
The supporting cast continues with junior Marena Moccia, who the coach says has improved during the offseason, sophomores Stephanie Veliotis and Jackie Bazinet, who both played at the freshman-level last year and have continued to improve, and sophomore Morgan Callahan, who didn’t play last year but is a talented player.
“We’re looking forward to having her back and to see what she can contribute,” the coach said.
Freshmen Tess McCabe and Alex Nickerson could turn out to be big contributors.
“They played travel basketball and did a nice job last year as 8th graders,” Tierney said. “We’re hoping to see more from them this year.”
Freshman Audrey Kelleher is also expected to add to the mix.
“Audrey is a hard worker,” coach Tierney said. “She listens and has done well. I think she is going to be a good player for us.”
Bourne won the SCC Championship last year. The last time the school won back-to-back conference championships in girls’ basketball was in the 1982-83 and 1983-84 seasons. The last time they won the conference prior to last year was in 2008-09.
But while the deck may seemed stacked in their favor going into the season, Tierney knows everyone will be gunning for Bourne.
“It’s going to be tough,” he said. “We have some challenges that we have to rise up to. I’m eager to see how we handle it.”
The excitement has been building for three seasons. Now the group that started playing the game together eight years ago opens their senior season when they take the floor at Dighton-Rehoboth High School Tuesday, December 17. They will play their home opener Friday, December 20, against Seekonk.
“We practice together, we run together, we play together,” Tierney said of his squad this year. “People are saying we’re the team to beat. But they have to beat all of us. One of the biggest things for us is going to be balance, to keep playing at the same level.”
Coach Bridget Conlon returns this season as the junior varsity coach and coach Meg Girouard is back working with the freshmen. Tierney will be assisted this season by varsity assistant coach Mike Andrews.